Low-Wage Workers Protest in Los Angeles and LAX

1 Dec

Hundreds of low wage workers, mostly people of color, and their allies marched and protested around the Los Angeles Airport, as part of a national protest in 340 cities, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, for $15-an-hour jobs, for unions, immigrant rights, and against cuts in the Affordable Care Act, against racist policies, which put newly elected President Trump on notice that his policies would be resisted.

Three groups marched and protested around LAX.  One group, around noon, walked and chanted on the sidewalk from West 98th Street and Aviation Blvd. toward Avion Dr.  At Avion, the group turned left toward Century and headed toward the airport proper.  Around Vicksburg Ave., gathered a Los Angeles Police Department contingent, where no sidewalk existed.  Near Vicksburg the group turned around before the sidewalk disappeared and headed back from where it came.   Two chants the group shouted out, while walking, were “If we don’t get it, shut it down” and “No Justice, No Peace.”

The local NBC affiliate, quoting an LAX management statement, it said, “Shortly before noon, two groups of demonstrators gathered on the Upper Level at LAX, with one group on the north side and the other group on the south side, marching toward the Tom Bradley International Terminal.”

No arrests occurred at LAX.

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Later in the early afternoon, on Aviation between 98th and Century, hundreds rallied and heard speakers on a flatbed truck.

One of the speakers was 44th District Congresswoman Janice Hahn, who was recently elected as the 4th District Supervisor.  Regarding the profits of the airline industry, Hahn said, “While these airlines are making record profits, we know that the workers are not getting their fair share.  Last year these airlines made over $25 billion in profit across the county, but 42 percent of all airline workers live below the poverty line…. I’m here in solidarity with you.”

A second elected official who spoke was Los Angeles Councilman Curran Price.  He reminded the audience his support for raising the minimum wage and for immigrant rights by his support for Los Angeles being a sanctuary city.

A third speaker was Tim Maddox, a vice president of USWW (United Service Workers West).  USWW represents service property workers, such as janitors, cabin cleaners, stadium and arena workers, and other airport workers.  Maddox said, “The Airport used to be good jobs….Reagan began busting the unions when he fired air traffic controllers who were on strike….This was the beginning of outsourcing our labor at the airport and deregulation…. Moments later on a more optimistic note, he added, “But, we know when we take action and fight back, we win…We have won wage increases in Los Angeles, New York City, Newark, Minneapolis, Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, Portland and Fort Lauderdale.”

The same NBC affiliate, which reported on LAX, said, “The first (of the day) protest began about 6 a.m. at Seventh and Alameda streets in downtown Los Angeles. About an hour into the rally, protesters blocked the intersection of Seventh and Alameda streets and police arrested 40 of them, the Los Angeles Police Department reported.”

CNN reported dozens of arrests in Oakland and New York with a strike at O’Hare International Airport of janitors, baggage handlers, cabin cleaners and wheelchair attendants.  Reuters reported arrests in Cambridge Massachusetts and in Detroit.

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